Youth Residential Program

At the core of our services for children since 1887 are our full-time living spaces, also known as youth residential programs. Mercy Home never closes–children live here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

In order to tailor the living experience to the needs of our kids as closely as possible, we operate several specialized, therapeutic residential programs under the umbrella of Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. Each one of our living spaces provides the safety, structure, and support that children over 11 years old to grow and thrive. Placement in any one of our programs is based on the age of the child and their emotional and developmental requirements.

Our program provides everything that you would want for your own kids to make sure that they can build a future that’s happy and fulfilling. To this we add special care to help children overcome any abuse and trauma in their pasts. Our goal is simple: We prepare our young people to make positive life decisions that will help them realize their potential.

Refer a Child

Do you know a child who is struggling, living in an unsafe or unstable environment, or who is burdened by homelessness or neglect?

Support Mercy Home

Help us continue our mission to save the lives of young people today.

We provide everything our kids need to grow and thrive

Food, Shelter, and Clothing

Mercy Home ensures that the basic needs of all of our kids are met. We provide a warm bed for kids to sleep in at night and nutritious, home-cooked meals so that they are able to focus on the day’s tasks without distraction or worry.


Living in constant fear of personal harm can steal a child’s future. At Mercy Home, your support ensures that children have the safe and supportive environment they need to heal, grow, and thrive. A place where a child can be a child. Where they can focus on building their futures, free from worry about gangs, violence, or abuse.


Our young people are years behind in school by the time they enter our care. That’s why a major focus of our work is helping them overcome academic struggles and encouraging success in the classroom. We provide enrichment programs in the basics, like math and reading. And we provide daily tutoring that helps our kids to catch up, graduate, and take the next step in their academic journeys.


In addition to the overall therapeutic environment we create for our young people, everyone in our care receives individual and group therapy at least once a week. Therapy sessions focus on helping each child accomplish goals they set with the help of care managers as part of our individualized program.

But we also promote whole family healing by engaging our young people’s caregiving systems as well. We believe that the active support of a child’s family is critical to long-term change.

Additionally we offer young people a variety of specialized healing programs, such as grief groups, music and art therapy, and therapeutic yoga.

Spiritual Development

A child’s faith can be a powerful force in their healing. We support children who come to us from a variety of faith traditions, by encouraging a deeper exploration of their own spirituality. Throughout the year, spiritual retreats, celebrations, and faith-based learning help our kids develop this critical dimension of their lives.

Community Service

We prepare children to make a positive impact on their community. Our children learn important lessons about themselves and about the world around them through meaningful volunteer opportunities. Our young people visit nursing homes, help out at food banks, and write letters and Christmas cards to service members overseas. Many of our young people have even traveled to other parts of the country to help build homes for families in need with Habitat for Humanity.


We offer character-building and culturally-enriching learning opportunities that encourage personal growth and development. Activities can include things like cooking lessons, lacrosse, spoken word, gardening, dance, and more.

Vocational and Career Resources

Finding and keeping a job gives young people more confidence and self-reliance, teaches them to be financially responsible, and gives them skills that they will need throughout their careers. Our business partners throughout the Chicago area open their doors to our young people, offering them internships and jobs that help them build experience and learn about different career paths.